Giving #30 a tri……
First of all, let me say that triathletes are beasts. I can’t fathom being as ridiculously in shape as one needs to be to actually BE a triathlete.
After I finished my 1/2 marathon in May, my friend Emily suggested I try a sprint-length triathlon. I’d almost done a little mini-tri at a camp I worked at in 2004, but I forgot to set an alarm and slept through it. Ever since then I’ve thought it would be really cool to do one, but never thought I actually would. Of course I never thought I could run 13.1 miles either. I didn’t even know what a sprint tri involved so Emily educated me that there are several distances in the triathlon world, Sprint (the shortest), Olympic (mid-length), Half-Iron Man (this is what the “70.3” bumper stickers mean) and Ironman or Ultra Distance (insanely long….this length involves a 2.4 mile swim, a full marathon run (26 miles) and a 110 mile bike.) She was training for one the end of July, so I added it as a list item…
30! Complete a “sprint-length” triathlon
…and figured I had 2 months to figure out how to conquer this thing. But then my calendar changed when I decided to run the Chicago Rock-N-Roll Half marathon in July, and I had to pick another tri to train for. The only other one in Nashville before my birthday happened to be this morning….which at the time I signed up, gave me a mere 4 weeks to train. So I re-figured my training schedule, and decided to go for it anyway. Basically, my “training” ended up being that I ran alot. And then fit in half-hearted swims when I could and a few bike rides. I was certainly not prepared for the bike or the swim portion of this morning’s competition the way I should have been. And I’ll admit that as I stood in line waiting to go into the water this morning, I almost ran away, packed up, and went home. But then I realized I’d have to write a blog about how I wussed out and that didn’t seem like a very fun thing to do.
The Old Hickory Lake Triathlon, which is just up the road in Hendersonville, TN, is unique in that the 3 mile run is split into 2 parts. The race was a 400 yard swim, a one mile run, a 12 mile bike, and a 2 mile run to the finish line. In all honesty, the course was really easy. The swim was in a quiet inlet in a lake, the runs were fairly flat through residential neighborhoods, and the bike was an out-and-back fairly flat course as well. I just wasn’t prepared enough which is why for me, it was difficult. Or maybe just exhausting is a better word for it. Personal music devices aren’t permitted based on USAT official rules, so I had lots of time to think while I was out there. I’d heard repeatedly from people that the key to the swim was “stay calm in the water.” I was glad I’d had that piece of advice, as I can see how people could easily get overwhelmed in the lake with all the other swimmers bumping into you and all the other general confusion. While I swam, I just kept saying to myself, “stay calm…you’ve got this…stay calm.” And then for some reason as I laced up my running shoes, the song “I Love You Like A Love Song, Baby” by Selena Gomez popped into my head..and stayed there, which is unfortunate because it might be the worst song ever. But it got me through the mile run and to the transition area to get on my bike and set out on the 12 mile trek, during which I started mentally writing this blog, and low and behold, next thing I knew, I was turning back in to the transition area to start my last leg, a 2 mile run. At that point, there were only about 5 racers left on the course and that whole last 2 miles is sort of a blur. I remember talking to everyone I passed just to distract myself. And cheering on a racer who was a few steps ahead of me, but who looked like he might pass out at any moment. And then I saw the word FINISH in big blue letters and I teared up as I crossed the line and heard them announce “Racer 261, Bethany Bordeaux, has just crossed the finish line!” and a cheer went up. (By that point, there wasn’t much going on to announce, so the DJ had time to give me that awesome shout-out.)
So. Another list item checked off. Another personal challenge completed. Not only, was it my first triathlon, but it was also my longest swim and longest bike ride ever. And, because the US Triathlon association bases competitor’s ages on the age they will be as of December 21st, 2012, instead of their age at the time of the triathlon…..it was also my first time to see my age listed as 30….which was kind of cool and spooky!
I’d love to do another one sometime, but I think I’ll wait until I’m better prepared for the swim and the bike. For now, running is my sport, and I’m happy with that. And now, I’ll leave you with my one and only photo from the day….taken in the parking lot after I finished. Don’t the arm “tattoos” make me look tough?
And because I have no shame in the fact that I did not do particularly well when it comes to the official results, I’ve posted those below for you to check out as well. The “T” times, T1, T2, and T3 are the transition times…..when you get out of the water and put on your running shoes (which took me forever), and then when you run in to get on your bike, and get off your bike as well. I was also proud that I didn’t have any penalty time added. (So many rules to remember!)
And then in overall result world……